The Bosch RA1171 is Bosch’s cabinet style router table, designed to be mounted on your workbench (like the RA1181) but giving better dust collection and noise reduction due to the enclosed cabinet. Like the RA1181 it’s made from quality components, with a good sized tabletop plus an excellent fence, giving you two of the main advantages of larger router tables in a compact, portable form and at an equally good price too.
Comparison With The Bosch RA1181
The Bosch RA1171 shares a number of components with the RA1181 but has a few important differences as well.
Open vs Cabinet Style
Once again, there are advantages and disadvantages to both and it depends what your particular requirements and priorities are:
Much Better Dust Extraction
A major area where a cabinet style router table beats an open one is dust collection. The Bosch RA1171 has two dust collection ports – one mounted on the back of the fence (same as the RA1181) and one in the back of the cabinet itself.
However good your extraction is through the fence, some dust and chips will always fall through the insert plate hole. If you’re using an open style table that all goes on the floor, in the atmosphere and everywhere else; if you’re using a cabinet style it’s collected in the cabinet or, even better, extracted via a second dust vac.
If you have to work in your garage it might be that efficient dust extraction is one of your top priorities.
Cabinet style router tables also help keep noise to a minimum because the router is enclosed in a box, which is another advantage if you don’t have the luxury of a dedicated workshop.
Another thing I liked was the dual outlet switch – you can plug in your router and your dust vac and so they both come on with the same switch on the front of the cabinet. It’s not a big thing, but I appreciated the convenience of it.
What Are The Alternatives?
The Bosch RA1171 is pretty much it for a cabinet style router table in the $150 price bracket. Bench Dog produce the Bench Dog 40-001 which is an excellent table but it costs double the price at a shade under $300. The Bench Dog has an arguably sturdier cabinet made from birch plywood instead of MDF and a phenolic laminate table top which is more stable than MDF, but still isn’t aluminum or cast iron.
In the $150 price bracket the Bosch RA1181 and Bosch RA1171 are both excellent router tables and stand out from the competition. Both have an excellent fence system and an aluminum mounting plate and your decision comes down to your priorities – if you want a table with a solid aluminum table top, then you should choose the Bosch RA1181, but if you want the advantages of an enclosed, cabinet style router table, it’s the Bosch RA1171.